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Chrysler unveils photos of revamped 2011 lineup

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Chrysler unveils photos of revamped 2011 lineup

Alisa Priddle / The Detroit News

Chrysler Group LLC has released its first pictures of some of the 15 new or significantly modified 2011 model-year vehicles that will go into production over the next four months.

The Chrysler 200 is the new name for the redesigned Sebring mid-size sedan that will be made at the Sterling Heights plant and shipped to dealerships later this year.

The unveilings came as Chrysler met with more than 1,700 of its dealers in Orlando to provide them with an overview of the 2011 models they'll be selling.

The automaker released some teaser shots of the exterior that is demonstrably different from the Sebring, with a new hood and a Chrysler winged badge on the new grille. Even the front and rear fascias and fenders are new sheet metal, and the headlamps have been redesigned.

The car still rides on the old underpinnings but work has been done on the suspension for a smoother, quieter ride.

The car's engine lineup now includes Chrysler's new Pentastar V-6 (283 horsepower) or the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine, and both can be mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Much attention went to higher-quality materials in the updated interior -- everything from a new instrument panel and gauges to nicer and more comfortable seats. Hard plastic has been replaced with soft-touch materials in places like the door panels, dash and arm rests.

The 200 attempts to address Chrysler's need for a competitive car in the high-volume mid-size category, where the Sebring lagged the field.

Minivan gets a new V-6

Chrysler also is determined to give no ground in the minivan wars.

The 2011 Chrysler Town & Country minivan debuts today with changes inside and out, including a new V-6. With the six-speed automatic transmission, the minivan gets 17 miles per gallon in the city and 26 mpg on the highway.

To address safety, the family vehicle has a standard SafetyTec package of 40 features, including systems to detect objects in the blind spots and behind the vehicle.

The Stow 'n Go seats have been made more comfortable and Chrysler has added a one-touch fold-down feature to make it easier to get at the third row. Up front is a new center console, redone instrument panel and cluster and a steering wheel with more integrated controls.

Made in Windsor, the Town & Country will arrive in dealerships later this year.

Jeep Patriot upgraded

On the Jeep side, new images have been released of the 2011 Jeep Patriot compact utility vehicle.

There are new front and rear fascias and a body-color grille. The vehicle has been raised an inch for better off-road clearance.

Continuing a theme across the product line, hard plastic has been replaced by softer materials inside the cabin, better seats and steering wheels with more integrated commands.

Built at the Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois, the new Patriot is due in showrooms later this year. Chrysler has not released details of the planned updates for the Jeep Compass, which is also built at Belvidere.

Tiny, sporty Fiat 500

From Chrysler's partnership with Fiat SpA, new pictures of the North American version of the Italian Fiat 500 -- or Cinquecento -- Sport model have been released.

The hatchback aims to portray European style with unique 16-inch aluminum wheels, body-side cladding, painted brake calipers and glossy black window trim.

The tiny car has a large sunroof.

Under the hood is a 1.4-liter Fiat engine, made at Chrysler's Dundee, Mich., engine plant, which has Fiat's MultiAir technology that reduces emissions and improves fuel economy by 10 percent.

Consumers can start ordering the new 500 later this year with a choice of the Sport, Pop and Lounge models. The convertible will not be in showrooms until spring and will be known as the 500C cabrio.

Six new, revamped Dodges

The Dodge brand has six new or revamped products: The new Durango; the Charger, which goes into production in late November; revisions to the Grand Caravan minivan, Journey crossover and Avenger mid-size car, and some interior improvements to the Challenger muscle car.

"We've essentially remade these vehicles from the ground up," said Ralph Gilles, head of the Dodge brand, adding they have more fuel-efficient engines and better driving dynamics.

"We've spent the last year redefining and building the Dodge brand. Now we're going to show customers what the future of Dodge will look like," Gilles said.

"We think a car should have a personality, be powerful and fun. We're going to put that Dodge mojo into the entire lineup, from compact cars to minivans to SUVs and everything in between."

Gilles said the Dodge lineup has "taken a giant leap in improved interior quality." He called it "the upgrade they always deserved, but never expected."

As for the Ram brand, which was split from the Dodge brand when Sergio Marchionne became CEO, the 2011 lineup includes the Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab trucks for commercial use.

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100914/AUTO01/9140405/1148/Chrysler-unveils-photos-of-revamped-2011-lineup#ixzz0zYVyRBNt

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